NOCK President Wants Doping In Sport Criminalized

Kipchoge Keino

Kipchoge Keino, President of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), has called on the Kenyan Government to make doping a criminal offence. Keino said criminalization of doping activities is required to combat the growing concerns of performance enhancing drugs among Kenyan athletes.

Keino has sought urgent talks with Parliamentary Committee on Sports and Cabinet Secretary for Sports Hassan Wario for getting a new legislation introduced, which would include prison sentences for coaches and agents who encourage athletes to take drugs. Keino, the 1968 Olympic champion in 1500 meters and the 1972 champion in 3,000m steeplechase gold medalist, said the reputation of our sportsmen and women has been tainted beyond any imagination.

World Anti-Doping Agency President Sir Craig Reedie criticized the decision of Germany last year when the European nation proposed making doping a criminal offence. However, the views expressed by Keino have been supported by Kenya's Deputy President, William Ruto, who believes the involvement of foreign agents and managers are behind the doping epidemic.

Ruto remarked doping is an unfortunate situation that is coming into our country. He added Kenya has stood out for decades, since the 1960s when Ben Jipcho, Kipchoge Keino, and many others were involved in sports and we never had instances of doping and also remarked that it is only in the last year or two that we have begun to see Kenyans suspected or tested and found to be using drugs. Kenya's Deputy President added we have natural talent and it should not be corrupted by people looking for short cuts, and most of the explanations we are getting from Athletics Kenya are associated with some of the managers of our sportsmen. He went on to add that it is his sincere hope that those behind the doping problem are reined in as early as now so that it does not get to a situation where they ruin our sportsmen and women or even ruin our status as a country.

Last year, a total of 26 Kenyan athletes tested positive for banned drugs including Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Rita Jeptoo. Jeptoo is likely to be stripped of her World Marathon Majors title after the "B" sample of an out-of-competition drug test confirmed her use of Erythropoietin (EPO). Jeptoo, winner of the Boston and Chicago Marathons in 2013 and 2014, was to receive an award at the WMM award ceremony that was scheduled for November 3 in New York City but postponed after her positive test. Jeptoo risks losing the $500,000 (£320,000/€409,000) prize fund that would go to compatriot Edna Kiplagat if she is ruled to be disqualified. Jeptoo's coach, Claudio Berardelli, and agent, Federico Rosa, have said they are ignorant of Jeptoo's doping. Rosa remarked maybe she should help other people and say who gave her EPO and added he has nothing to do now with her.

Marathon runners Viola Chelangat Kimetto and Joyce Jemutai Kiplimo also tested positive for banned drugs last year. Kimetto tested positive for Norandosterone, a substance usually found in over-the-counter nutritional supplements. He received a ban for two years, beginning on October 12, 2014. Kiplimo tested positive for the same substance following a race in China last April and also received a doping ban of two years.


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